Despite some last-minute changes addressing concerns expressed by numerous neighbors, Bethlehem zoners have denied a proposed 28-bed drug and alcohol residential rehab center at 2110 Center St., located a stone's throw from Bethlehem Catholic High School. They did so following a Nov. 27 hearing in which developer Abe Atiyeh testified that this center would be dedicated to the treatment of girls between ages 12 and 17. It was originally proposed as an adult facility.
Atiyeh had hoped that a facility for teenage girls would be more acceptable.
The South Bethlehem Historical Society Christmas tree display offers 19 trees this year, with each tree decorated to represent a different ethnic group.
The annual lighting event was Nov. 25 in the Comfort Suites lobby.
This year Ukrainian and Mexican trees have been added, joining the Moravian, Hungarian and Portuguese trees among others.
Entertainment for the lighting was provided by the Broughal MS Chorus, the Russian Orthodox Church Choir and The Four Leaf Clovers. City Council member Robert Donchez and State Representative Steve Samuelson spoke at the lighting.
Borough council welcomed a new police commander and decided on a final budget Nov. 20.
Council members introduced Police Chief Todd Pantuso to the community as the replacement for retired George Bruneio. Pantuso has 27 years of experience and most recently comes from Warren County, New Jersey.
"I'm looking forward to serving the residents of the borough," Pantuso said. He will promote an open-door policy and he said he wants citizens to feel welcome at the office. "If it's important to the residents, it's important to the police department," he said.
Northampton County's next elected county executive will not be seeing a pay raise. In spite of researched facts, Northampton County Council advocates for raising the executive's pay to $95,000 were defeated soundly by a 2-7 vote.
Discussion at council's Nov. 15 meeting ranged from the poor economy to the prospective candidates for the top job in the county. This is John Stoffa's last term as county executive. Executive's pay is currently at $84,700, so the proposed raise would be $10,300.
At their Nov. 18 meeting, Bethlehem Township Commissioners unanimously authorized Finance Director Andrew Freda to advertise a no-tax increase budget for 2013. At $16.2 million, the budget retains a 5.99 millage rate, under which a home assessed at $75,000 would be taxed $449.25.
After a 30-day public inspection period, commissioners will vote on the budget at their Dec. 17 meeting.
Finding abandoned or illegally parked cars on county property will carry stiffer fines. Northampton County Council unanimously approved increased fees for violations of the county's parking of vehicles' regulations at its Nov. 15 meeting. A traffic ticket will be issued with a fine of $50 for any vehicle parked in a handicapped spot and not displaying a current handicapped placard. If the ticket is paid after 14 business days, the fine increases to $70.
Christmas City USA opened its 75th anniversary Nov. 23 with Bethlehem's annual tree lighting ceremony at Payrow Plaza. The weather was perfect as the crowd filled the plaza to capacity under a nearly full moon. Bethlehem Catholic HS's band entertained the spectators with the sounds of the season and the Liberty HS A Capella Choir added a sweet touch to the night air.
Bethlehem Township Commissioners have settled litigation against a financial advice firm that recommended a streetlight purchase deal gone awry. At their Nov. 18 meeting, the commissioners unanimously authorized the settlement, although details are under wraps until both sides have signed off.